The ABC is proposing to make 58 roles redundant as part of what it calls a transformation to a digital-first media organisation.
In a statement, the ABC said technology has enabled more efficient and accessible content management of its archives.
“We can, therefore, redesign the way we work to better support content makers as they serve changing audience needs.
“This means some roles are no longer required, but [it] also provides opportunities to develop new skills and create new and evolved roles,” the statement read.
The public broadcaster said it had digitised 90% of its audio and 35% of its videotape collection, accessible to ‘content makers’ via its Content Digital Archive (CoDA).
Part of the proposed changes includes the addition of 30 roles.
The news organisation has said ABC staff have been offered the opportunity to take redundancies in accordance with its enterprise agreement.
According to the Guardian, part of the changes mean journalists will be researching and archiving their own stories.
The proposal has been publicly criticised both within the ABC and by observers.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has criticised the changes, calling it ‘devastating news for many ABC staff and [it] has come as a shock to teams across the country’.
ABC reporter for Four Corners Louise Milligan also publicly voiced her dismay at the news.
“Speaking personally, ABC archives and the specialist knowledge our archivists have of them are precious historical resources, enriching our stories endlessly. I value these professionals and their work,” Milligan tweeted.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has criticised the news, calling the ABC ‘fundamental’ to Australia’s recollection.
This is appalling & must be reversed. ABC is fundamental to our national historical memory. Something that Liberals, like those on the ABC board, no longer have any interest in. How surprising this decision was delayed until after the election. #SaveOurABC https://t.co/ftySNiODZg
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) June 8, 2022
One of Labor’s policies is for a better funding for the national broadcasters ABC and SBS, saying it will fund them on a five-year basis as opposed to a three-year basis.
The most recent funding of the broadcaster was announced prior to the election, with the ABC receiving $3.2 million over a three-year period.
At the time, ABC managing director David Anderson welcomed the news, calling it fundamental to the ABC fulfilling its ‘vital role in our democratic society’.